Indigenous entrepreneurship by Papuan Women in the informal agricultural sector in Manokwari-West Papua Province in Indonesia

Wambrauw, Ludia T.
Fields of Research
The majority of Papuan women in Manokwari, West Papua, Indonesia, engage in marketing activity in the agricultural informal sector. However, the nature of their entrepreneurial activity, and the factors that impede and enable these endeavours, are not clearly understood. The aim of this research is to gain a better understanding of the entrepreneurial marketing activity of these women, and so enable opportunities for improving their position to be identified, along with constraints that impede them. At a more fundamental level, the study contributes to a greater understanding of indigenous entrepreneurship and the factors that influence indigenous entrepreneurs. Based on indigenous entrepreneurship literature, and knowledge of the Papuan context, a theoretical framework was designed to guide the research. A qualitative approach was used to investigate three case studies of groups of women in three different areas – a more remote area, a transmigration site, and an urban area. Within-case and cross-case analysis revealed that these Papuan women’s motivation is driven by their immediate family needs and their social and cultural obligations. More remote area traders have very strong communal and collective values, and they share resources when doing their productive work, but the transmigration site and urban traders appear to work more individually. However, the influence of the social and cultural values on the traders from the three cases is similar, and it is still necessary for them to fulfil their contribution to social and cultural obligations. The women from all three case studies proved to be open to innovation. They were outward looking and had market awareness. There is variation between the groups in their engagement with the cash economy and the expression of their market awareness. They actively seek to add value to their produce, but have different ways of doing this. Their implementation of marketing techniques varies, with urban traders employing a wider range of marketing strategies. The women traders from the more remote areas and the transmigration site depend heavily on their natural resources, whereas the majority of the urban traders are more dependent on marketing resources and financial reserves in order to buy produce from other producers. Hence, more remote area and transmigration site traders are self-funded, while the urban traders are partly self-funded. The more remote area traders relied very heavily upon social capital in conducting their production and marketing activities, whereas the traders in the other groups proved less reliant on social capital. The more remote area traders face greater constraints related to poor road access, high cost transportation, and poor access to physical markets. Even though the urban traders have better access to microfinance, women from all three groups had poor access to commercial bank credit schemes. In addition, all traders had poor access to government support. This study extends the understanding of indigenous entrepreneurship. It illustrates that the characteristics of entrepreneurship by indigenous people can vary from those traditionally associated with indigenous entrepreneurship to a mix of both indigenous and western entrepreneurship characteristics. These grounded insights into the varied nature of indigenous entrepreneurship, and the differences in constraints facing different groups, provide policy insights for the Papuan government.